BLACKSBURG, Va. — Virginia Tech’s SmartFarm Innovation Network of skilled and dedicated faculty researchers is rapidly expanding as part of a strategic effort to create a statewide network of interconnected faculty, partners, and resources for scientific discovery and developing and deploying new technologies.
Since 2020, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has advertised 13 new tenure-track positions identified as the SmartFarm Innovation Network cluster. Twelve of these positions have been filled. Eight additional new faculty hires within the college have been identified with the skills and knowledge that contribute to the strength of the SmartFarm cluster cohort.
“Our success has been phenomenal, attracting motivated faculty with a variety of knowledge and skills in engineering, computer science, data analytics, technology, statistics, and the capacity to apply those into advanced innovation in agriculture,” said Susan Duncan, director of the Center for Advanced Innovation in Agriculture.
The SmartFarm Network is a central platform of the Center for Advanced Innovation in Agriculture. Introduced in 2021, the center aims to leverage science and technology to create transformative solutions to support agriculture and food systems, the environment, and communities in the commonwealth and beyond.
The following faculty were hired through advertised positions in the SmartFarm Innovation Network cluster faculty:
- Hasan Seyyedhasani, connected technologies in agriculture applications-agronomic crops, School of Plant and Environmental Sciences
- Sanaz Shafian, connected technologies in agriculture-horticultural crops, School of Plant and Environmental Sciences
- Kaylee South, controlled environment agriculture technologies, School of Plant and Environmental Sciences
- Emmanuel Torres Quezada, horticulture cropping systems, Eastern Shore Agricultural Research and Extension Center and School of Plant and Environmental Sciences
- Srdjan Acimovic, tree fruits/specialty crop pathology, Alson H. Smith Jr Agricultural Research and Extension Center and School of Plant and Environmental Sciences
- Abhilash Chandel, precision agriculture technologies and data management, Tidewater Agricultural Research and Extension Center and biological systems engineering
- Anubhab Gupta, economics of international agricultural development, agricultural and applied economics
- James Chen, animal data sciences, School of Animal Sciences
- Azahar Ali, biosensor engineering
- Alejandro Del Pozo, applied insect ecology, Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension Center and entomology
- Hannah Sunderman; adaptive and organizational leadership; agriculture, leadership, and community education
- Yifan Cheng, food packaging, food science and technology
In addition, the following faculty expand on the expertise of the initial cluster and are affiliated with the Center for Advanced Innovation in Agriculture:
- Elinor Benami, data analytics and machine learning in global agricultural sustainability; agricultural and applied economics
- Chi Ta, environmental, energy and public economics, agricultural and applied economics
- Vijay Singh, weed science, Eastern Shore Agricultural Research and Extension Center and School of Plant and Environmental Sciences
- Nicholas Santantonio, small grains breeding, School of Plant and Environmental Sciences
- Brianna Posadas, human-computer interactions for plant Sciences, School of Plant and Environmental Sciences
- Johan Osario Estevez, One Health, School of Animal Sciences
- Tiffany Drape; community viability and evaluation; agriculture, leadership, and community education
- Feras Batarseh, cybersecurity in agriculture, biological systems engineering
–Max Esterhuizen, Virginia Tech